Sierra Leone Population: 6,018,888


« Previous Country | Next Country »   Back to Flag Counter Overview
The British set up a trading post near present-day Freetown in the 17th century. Originally the trade involved timber and ivory, but later it expanded into slaves. Following the American Revolution, a colony was established in 1787 and Sierra Leone became a destination for resettling black loyalists who had originally been resettled in Nova Scotia. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, British crews delivered thousands of Africans liberated from illegal slave ships to Sierra Leone, particularly Freetown. The colony gradually expanded inland during the course of the 19th century; independence was attained in 1961. Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war (1991-2002) that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, has developed as a guarantor of the country's stability; the armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 and 2012 national elections. In March 2014, the closure of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone marked the end of more than 15 years of peacekeeping and political operations in Sierra Leone. The government's stated priorities include furthering development - including recovering from the Ebola epidemic - creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.

Rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
Geographic coordinates: 8 30 N, 11 30 W
Area: total: 71,740 sq km
land: 71,620 sq km
water: 120 sq km

Size comparison: slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land Boundaries: total: 1,093 km border countries (2): Guinea 794 km, Liberia 299 km
Coastline: 402 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)
Terrain: coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Land use: agricultural land: 56.2% arable land 23.4%; permanent crops 2.3%; permanent pasture 30.5% forest: 37.5%
other: 6.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 300 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
Current Environment Issues: rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleted natural resources; overfishing
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
^Back to Top
Nationality: noun: Sierra Leonean(s)
adjective: Sierra Leonean
Ethnic groups: Temne 35%, Mende 31%, Limba 8%, Kono 5%, Kriole 2% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century; also known as Krio), Mandingo 2%, Loko 2%, other 15% (includes refugees from Liberia's recent civil war, and small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians) (2008 census)
Languages: English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
Religions: Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%
Population: 6,018,888 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.9% (male 1,257,997/female 1,263,961)
15-24 years: 18.57% (male 542,975/female 574,669)
25-54 years: 32.04% (male 924,331/female 1,003,895)
55-64 years: 3.74% (male 104,415/female 120,953)
65 years and over: 3.75% (male 94,520/female 131,172) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 81.9%
youth dependency ratio: 77.1%
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9%
potential support ratio: 20.6% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 19 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 19.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.36% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 36.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 10.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 39.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.75% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: FREETOWN (capital) 1.007 million (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 19.2 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 1,360 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 70 deaths/1,000 live births male: 78.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 61.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 58.2 years male: 55.6 years
female: 60.9 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.76 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 16.6% (2013)
Health expenditures: 11.1% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density: 0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 84.9% of population
rural: 47.8% of population
total: 62.6% of population

urban: 15.1% of population
rural: 52.2% of population
total: 37.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 22.8% of population
rural: 6.9% of population
total: 13.3% of population

urban: 77.2% of population
rural: 93.1% of population
total: 86.7% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.34% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 51,100 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 2,500 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 6.6% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 18.1% (2013)
Education expenditures: 2.7% of GDP (2014)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic
total population: 48.1%
male: 58.7%
female: 37.7% (2015 est.)
^Back to Top
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
conventional short form: Sierra Leone
local long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
local short form: Sierra Leone
etymology: the Portuguese explorer Pedro de SINTRA named the country "Serra Leoa" (Lion Mountains) for the impressive mountains he saw while sailing the West African coast in 1462
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Freetown
geographic coordinates: 8 29 N, 13 14 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 3 provinces and 1 area*; Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western*
Independence: 27 April 1961 (from the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 27 April (1961)
Constitution: several previous; latest in effect 1 October 1991; amended several times, last in 2013 (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007)

cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president, approved by Parliament; the cabinet is responsible to the president elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 November 2012 (next to be held in 2017)

election results: Ernest Bai KOROMA reelected president; percent of vote - Ernest Bai KOROMA (APC) 58.7%, Julius Maada BIO (SLPP) 37.4%, other 3.9%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Parliament (124 seats; 112 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 12 seats filled in separate elections by non-partisan members of Parliament called "paramount chiefs;" members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 17 November 2012 (next to be held in 2017)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 69, SLPP 43
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Superior Court of Judicature (consists of the Supreme Court - at the apex - with the chief justice and 4 other judges, the Court of Appeal with the chief justice and 7 other judges, and the High Court of Justice with the chief justice and 9 other judges; note – the Judicature has jurisdiction in all civil, criminal, and constitutional matters judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice and other judges of the Judicature appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (a 7-member independent body of judges, presidential appointees, and the Commission chairman) and subject to the approval of Parliament; all Judicature judges appointed until retirement at age 65

subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; District Appeals Court; local courts
Political parties and leaders: All People's Congress or APC [Ernest Bai KOROMA] Sierra Leone People's Party or SLPP [Somano KAPEN] numerous other parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: other: student unions; trade unions
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): lion; national colors: green, white, blue
National anthem: name: "High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free"
lyrics/music: Clifford Nelson FYLE/John Joseph AKA

note: adopted 1961
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Bockari Kortu STEVENS (since 28 March 2008)
chancery: 1701 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9261 through 9263
FAX: [1] (202) 483-1793
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador John HOOVER (since 4 November 4 December 2014))
embassy: Southridge-Hill Station, Freetown
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [232] (76) 99 1055 00
FAX: [232] (76) 515 355
^Back to Top
Sierra Leone is extremely poor and nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture. The country possesses substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, but it is still recovering from a civil war that destroyed most institutions before ending in the early 2000s. In recent years economic growth has been driven by mining - particularly iron ore. The country’s principal exports are iron ore, diamonds, and rutile, and the economy is vulnerable to fluctuations in international prices. Until 2014, the government had relied on external assistance to support its budget, but it was gradually becoming more independent. The Ebola outbreak of 2014 and 2015, combined with falling global commodities prices, caused a significant contraction of economic activity in all areas. While the World Health Organization declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in November 2015, economic recovery will depend on rising commodities prices and increased efforts to diversify the sources of growth. Pervasive corruption and undeveloped human capital will continue to deter foreign investors. Sustained international donor support in the near future will partially offset these fiscal constraints.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $10.64 billion (2016 est.) $10.2 billion (2015 est.) $12.92 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $4.289 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.3% (2016 est.) -21.1% (2015 est.) 4.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,700 (2016 est.) $1,600 (2015 est.) $2,100 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 2% of GDP (2016 est.) 2.1% of GDP (2015 est.) -7.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 83.7%
government consumption: 9.5%
investment in fixed capital: 33.7%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 15.2%
imports of goods and services: -42.2% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 83.7%
government consumption: 9.5%
investment in fixed capital: 33.7%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 15.2%
imports of goods and services: -42.2% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Industries: diamond mining; iron ore, rutile and bauxite mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, footwear)
Industrial production growth rate: 14% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 2.678 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 61.1%
industry: NA%
services: 33.4% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate: 9.1% (2014 est.)
Population below poverty line: 70.2% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 33.6% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 34 (2011) 62.9 (1989)
Budget: revenues: $558.1 million
expenditures: $738.6 million (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 13% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt: 43.3% of GDP (2016 est.) 41.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.1% (2016 est.) 8% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$696 million (2016 est.) -$681 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $886.4 million (2016 est.) $569.4 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: Iron ore, diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
Exports - partners: China 31.3%, Belgium 27.8%, Romania 11.3%, US 7.3%, India 4% (2015)
Imports: $1.303 billion (2016 est.) $1.575 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals
Imports - partners: China 23%, India 7.9%, US 6.4%, Netherlands 5.1% (2015)
Debt - external: $1.561 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $1.403 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $1.629 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $1.296 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $9.7 million (31 December 2015 est.) $6.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: leones (SLL) per US dollar - 6,201.4 (2016 est.) 5,080.8 (2015 est.) 5,080.8 (2014 est.) 4,524.2 (2013 est.) 4,344 (2012 est.)
^Back to Top
Electricity - production: 300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 200 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 100,000 kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 33.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 66.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 7,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 7,354 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 1.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
^Back to Top
Cellular Phones in use: total: 5.657 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 96 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: marginal telephone service with poor infrastructure

domestic: the national microwave radio relay trunk system connects Freetown to Bo and Kenema; while mobile-cellular service is growing rapidly from a small base, service area coverage remains limited

international: country code - 232; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
Broadcast media: 1 government-owned TV station; 3 private TV stations; a pay-TV service began operations in late 2007; 1 government-owned national radio station; about two-dozen private radio stations primarily clustered in major cities; transmissions of several internati (2016)
Internet country code: .sl
Internet users: total: 147,000 percent of population: 2.5% (July 2015 est.)
^Back to Top
Airports: 8 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 7

914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)
Heliports: 2 (2013)
Roadways: total 11,300 km
paved: 904 km
unpaved: 10,396 km (2002)
Waterways: 800 km (600 km navigable year round) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 215

by type: bulk carrier 22, cargo 120, carrier 2, chemical tanker 19, container 6, liquefied gas 3, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 28, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1

foreign-owned: 98 (Bangladesh 1, China 19, Cyprus 2, Egypt 3, Estonia 2, Hong Kong 7, Japan 4, Lebanon 2, North Korea 2, Romania 2, Russia 7, Singapore 9, Syria 13, Taiwan 7, Turkey 9, UAE 1, UK 1, Ukraine 5, Yemen 2) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Freetown, Pepel, Sherbro Islands
^Back to Top
Military branches: Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF): Army (includes Maritime Wing and Air Wing) (2013)
Military service age and obligation: 18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent); women are eligible to serve; no conscription; candidates must be HIV negative (2012)
Military expenditures: 0.72% of GDP (2012) 0.8% of GDP (2011) 0.72% of GDP (2010)
^Back to Top
 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: Sierra Leone opposes Guinean troops' continued occupation of Yenga, a small village on the Makona River that serves as a border with Guinea; Guinea's forces came to Yenga in the mid-1990s to help the Sierra Leonean military to suppress rebels and to secure their common border but have remained there even after both countries signed a 2005 agreement acknowledging that Yenga belonged to Sierra Leone; in 2012, the two sides signed a declaration to demilitarize the area
^Back to Top

« Previous Country | Next Country »   Back to Flag Counter Overview

   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

Flag Counter